Deeper Rock Gal 5:13-26 Flesh man vs. Spirit Man!
Galatians 5:13–26 (NLT) — 13 For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. 14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another. 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us chokedres that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the Law of Moses. 19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
In this collection of verses we find one of the great wrestling matches in Scripture. You have a great champion freedom on one side. On the other you have that old oafish scoundrel legalism on the other. We have two sets of desires. What the flesh wants, and what the Spirit wants. The things that the flesh produces, anger, selfishness, division are not things we want in our lives. That is the result when we are living away from God. How do we get the good stuff? Love, joy, peace, patience, that’s what I want.
We find in verse 22 that it is the Holy Spirit that produces that proved in our lives. It does not come from us because we are corrupted by our sin.
I have never done a very good job of using self-control to curb my sinful desires. The only tactic that has ever worked for me is to push good stuff into my life. Whichever man I feed more, spirit man or flesh man, is the one who rules my mind. Here are some things that I do to keep that fleshy jerk down.
First, you have to be praying. It's amazing to me how many Christians miss out on the highest honor they have as children of God. Don't they realize that that's why Jesus died on the cross, so we could talk to God? Before Jesus died on the cross a priest had to do it, and he can only do it once a year. I don't think God cares very much what your prayer time looks like. He just wants your attention. You can sing, you can talk, you can write in a journal, and you can even take a walk with him. He simply wants your undivided attention. Jesus died on the cross so he could be your friend. What kinds of friend are we being if we refuse to even talk to him.
The next thing that you have to do to feel yourself up with good stuff is to read the Bible. During this season of Lent I'm reading the entire Bible in 40 days. I have never read the Bible this quickly before. It has really been fun; I have gotten to look at the Scripture from a different perspective than I ever have before. It is about 30 chapters I day, but it takes less time than I expected. I can honestly say that my mind is filled with good stuff. While wow I'm pointing God's word into my life I have cut out watching TV. And I can tell you that I really like to watch TV. I'm recording my favorite shows like to watch them later. :-) When you want to get close to God fill yourself with the word get rid of stuff from the world.
Finally, the hardest and most powerful way to feed your spirit man, while starving your flesh man, is fasting. I don't mind telling you that there are times that fasting is an awful experience. But that is kind of the point. With every hunger pang I am reminded that during this period of time God is my priority. It is difficult to articulate intimacy I get to experience with my Jesus while I am fasting. I think of fasting as my trump card so I can tell the Lord that I'm doing all I know how to do to be close to him.
The way of the sinful man leads to bondage. But when I feed my spirit man I find energy, passion, and a reason to live. Dear Jesus, help me to know and love you.
I'd like to invite you to rock church so you can be all that God created you to be. May the Lord richly bless you and I hope to see you in church on Sunday.
Pastor Scott J Kruse